I got the results of my latest pastoral evaluation today.

It was really positive. A lot of affirmation, and some critique. I agreed with most of the critique; in fact, I’d already refocused my ministry to address some of the concerns. So the evaluation turned out to be an affirmation of what I was already hearing from God. Pretty cool. And now I know I’m on the right track.

Critique is tricky to receive well. If you’re a people-pleaser, Craig Groeschel says, you’ll take it personally and it will gut you. And critique isn’t always accurate. Say, if someone in my congregation thinks I should be visiting every member in the church. Not my calling, not in my job description. What do I do with that? Junk it? Not so fast!

Before I turn that piece of paper into a crumpled ball and shoot hoops with it, I need to lay it out before God and ask him if there’s any truth to be had. No, I shouldn’t be visiting everyone. But perhaps I should work on my relational connections some. There is a grain of truth in most well-intentioned critiques, and even in some nasty ones. THe trick is to hear the voice of God in what people say, both negative and positive. That guards us against taking things too personally, so our head doesn’t either swell or implode. Neither are great options.

So my question is, when’s the last time you got a critique or criticised? Before you react, kneel — and ask Jesus how he wants you to see it and hear it. You might be surprised at what you get. Every once and awhile Jesus does say, “This is pure bunk. Shoot hoops with it.” Not in those words, mind you, but you get the idea.